Tasted in Château Thivin with Claude-Eduard Geoffray, 03 February 2021.
Claude-Eduard Geoffray on 2020:
“2020 was very different to 2019; we had plenty of grapes at the start of the summer but then no rain for 2-3 months so we have wines that are very concentrated and dark – each area was a little different – some had rain and we waited for rain – but here it didn’t come – so we had lower yields. But it looks good and it was relatively easy in the vines as there was also no water for the weeds and no moisture for the maladies. We used to look forward to hot vintages now we’re reminiscing over the cooler vintages! We are considering all sorts of strategies to try to hold onto the little rain that we are seeing in recent summers – certainly, extra organic material in the soil helps, some straw on the ground too.”
Claude-Eduard on 2019:
“There was a little frost but for us, it was just in some young vines at the bottom of the hills – we didn’t lose much. The wines indicate freshness but clearly it was very hot for a while so perhaps we had some blockage of maturities – we certainly had some rain towards the end of August and that removed any barriers to ripeness. In terms of volumes, 19 and 20 were very similar – 35-40 hl/ha – less than in 2018. White maturity was not too high – about 13.5° in this vintage.
“We like the vintage and it doesn’t show the sun as much as we were expecting – the mystery of the vine!”
As ever, excellent and great Beaujolais. I availed myself of the cellar-door and bought a mixed dozen…
All the wines were in bottle. The whites were bottled in May-June 2020 and the first two reds too – then came the cuvées that follow but all done usually before the next harvest, but the harvest was so early in 2020 that the Zaccharie was done just afterwards.
2019 Beaujolais Villages Blanc – Cuvée Marguerite
A vein of white limestone, the same as in Mâconnais runs through the vines of Brouilly which isn’t typical – the vines are in Brouilly but the AOC doesn’t exist for Brouilly blanc so it is Beaujolais Villages. Fermentation and elevage in the Same barrels.
A good citrus freshness – but textured and complex. In the mouth that’s rather silky – showing its barrel elevage but not too directly. Give this 1-2 years for that to fade, but all is silky and very tasty – finishing very well…
There’s a little more skin contact here – it’s overnight on the skins before pressing the next day. 460m altitude, harvested 1 month later than the previous wine and as much as 15 days later harvested as the reds here – a real Clos, with a locked door! The limestone is pierre dorée here. Same 10% new oak, bottled in May/June.
Extra citrus freshness – an attack of ripe fruit, more shaded toward the lime. Extra definition and energy here – mouth-watering, silky, super concentration. Long slow waves of finishing flavour. Always a reference for white Beaujolais – it is so again in 2019 – bravo!
2019 Brouilly Reverdon
Granitic, looking to the east and the hill of Brouilly and the Thivin domaine. Different label to the classic (for the Brouilly and the BV blanc) but it’s been like that since the 70s. On a pink granite-like Chiroubles and Fleurie.
Plenty of colour – the nose of this cold wine starting compact but with a nice purity. Wide on the palate – a little floral accented. Silky texture, a suggestion of, but no overt, tannin. Wide and delicious finishing. Concentrated, a little tight but clearly excellent.
2019 Côte de Brouilly Les Sept Vignes
Here the famous bluestone soil. An assembly of their seven parcels – hence the name. ‘Normally more structured and powerful for long aging.’ There can be two or even three bottlings of this as it’s a large cuvée
Also a compact nose but showing purity of fruit in the depth. Extra width and showing more freshness – beautifully textured again. That’s a super and almost vibrant core of finishing flavour. Today just a nose short of great entry wine – I’m pretty confident that will come!
2019 Côte de Brouilly Clos Bertrand
From in front of the château, was a vineyard for the church in the 1300s. Sheep grazing there again – in the middle of the slope – today.
A more concentrated core of aroma here – not completely open but showing more than the last two. Wide and fresh once more, almost a suggestion of salinity framing the flavours, a subtle reduction too. But this finishing more vibrantly if slightly more structurally too. Wide and open at the end – that’s really excellent with even more potential…
Brulhié is the old (1735) spelling of Brouilly. Mid-slope parcel, south-facing – an early ripening section.
More open and clearly more floral – that’s lovely. Extra zip of energy, extra width too – a faint velvet from the tannin but with only a suggestion of drying. Always open and with very fine energy too – be patient – perhaps 2 years but this is great wine.
Plain south-facing, the highest vines with a steep, close to 40% incline – more clay on the more fertile soil, and really needs a caterpillar tractor to be safe
Here a little less open but with a clarity of red fruit. There’s a little more intensity here to start and certainly in the middle and finish. Framed with über-fine tannin and again just a suggestion of dryness – that’s a great wine – again wait 2 years before attacking your bottles!
It’s a blend of parcels. Godefroy is the name of the lieu-dit. From very old vines – the oldest are about 100-years-old – bought by Claude-Edouard’s grandfather – so in the family nearly 100 years – but it wasn’t him who planted them…
Deeper, perfumed, slightly darker fruit – lovely. Very fine tannin again – practically no grain – mouth-filling flavour – a little less incisive that La Chapelle but with extra depth of flavour – it’s more mouth-filling!
2019 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Zaccharie
It was Zaccharie who bought the domaine in 1877, at that time with less than 4 hectares – Marguerite was his wife. All barrel aged – smaller barrels – for about 9-10 months – up to 10% new oak.
A wider nose, it’s the only wine that’s showing a small amount of barrel-spice. Fuller and rounder – the barrel notes modestly filling any gaps missed by the wine – and there are not many of those! There’s an easy over the palate impression that surprises because there’s none of the faint notes of austerity suggested by some of the previous wines. Open, concentrated for sure, but surprisingly approachable – even a little perfumed finishing too. Super wine.